Washington State

DSHS to distribute food benefits early because of government shutdown

Because of the partial federal government shutdown, most Department of Social and Health Services clients will receive their basic food benefits for February by Jan. 20, DSHS announced this week.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is directing state agencies to issue Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as Basic Food in Washington, early to minimize the impact of any lapse in funding because of the federal government shutdown.

Babs Roberts, Director for the DSHS Community Services Division within the Economic Services Administration, said in a DSHS news release, “In our state, over 900,000 children and adults receive food benefits. Seventy-five percent of the people who receive Basic Food do not receive any other cash assistance to make ends meet.”

SNAP recipients normally see their monthly food benefits arrive on their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT cards) anywhere from the first of the month to the 20th.

DSHS is urging clients who receive their benefits early to budget carefully. “Some recipients — those who get their benefits on the 20th of each month, for example — will be going two months between SNAP disbursements,” Roberts said in the news release. “People will want to ensure that the benefits they are receiving now last as long as possible.”

DSHS is keeping its website and its Facebook and Twitter accounts updated as it receives guidance from the federal government. For more information, visit the agency’s Economic Services Administration’s website.